French Make it Official With Nice NFC Launch

May 27 2010

Organizers of France’s “precommercial” launch of Near Field Communication services in Nice have made it official, kicking off what they say is the first project of its kind in Europe and a “rehearsal” for a national rollout of NFC next year in France.

The government-backed Nice project, which involves four mobile operators, at least two banks and the city’s transit operator, will enable subscribers to tap their phones to pay fares for buses and trams, make purchases in some stores and tap smart posters for updated transit schedules and tourist information. NFC-based student services at the nearby University of Nice Sophia Antipolis will also be available.

The four mobile operators, Orange-France, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and NRJ Mobile, will put around 4,000 NFC phones on sale to subscribers in Nice initially. The phones will be the NFC version of the popular, though sub-3G, touch-screen phone, the Samsung (S5230) Player One. The phone, nicknamed the Player One “cityzi” for this project, will store secure applications in SIM cards the telcos issue with a standard connection to NFC chips in the phones. Cityzi is the brand and acceptance mark organizers have chosen for NFC in France.

Organizers, which officially launched the project Friday, see it as a prelude to a national rollout, which could begin in the Paris region, where transit authority STIF has committed to rolling out NFC-based transit ticketing in 2011.

But in announcing the Nice launch, French mobile operator group Association Française du Sans Contact Mobile, or AFSCM, has volunteered a projection that only about 500,000 subscribers could be equipped with NFC cityzi phones by the end of 2011.

Besides paying bus and tram fares, subscribers will be able to buy transit tickets over the air, including making purchases of up to 10 euros (US$12.40) directly from their operators, which will put the charges on the subscribers’ phone bills.

Retail payment is also part of the launch, although merchant acceptance is limited for now and only two banks have publicized plans for participation so far. Others are expected to follow later in the year.

One of those two banks is BNP Paribas, which announced Friday it would be issuing 5,000 contactless EMV cards to customers in Nice and will also make its “KIX” mobile-payment application available. The cards and phone payment service will support the Visa payWave contactless application.

For the phone application, customers must enter a “private code” on their handset keypads before completing a purchase. But for purchases below 20 euros, they could choose not to enter the PIN, the bank noted.

BNP is referring to both the contactless cards and NFC phone application as “trial offers,” not precommercial launches, involving 43 of its branches in and around Nice. It will begin to promote the project in June.

Customers with NFC phones will need to activate the payment applications preloaded on their SIM cards in bank branches, according to an announcement Friday by France-based Gemalto, which confirmed it is serving as trusted service manager, or TSM, for Crédit Mutuel-CIC bank. The bank is an owner of NRJ Mobile, which is a mobile virtual network operator.

Unlike with BNP Paribas, customers of Crédit Mutuel-CIC will be able to buy the NFC phones in their bank branches, not only in mobile shops, according to the Gemalto release.

Gemalto also announced Friday it will serve as TSM for operator Orange France. TSMs generally download and manage applications over the air to NFC phones.

UPDATE: France-based Oberthur Technologies is serving as TSM for BNP Paribas, according to sources, as well as for telcos SFR and Bouygues. (EDITOR'S NOTE: The story earlier indicated that Gemalto and Oberthur were both serving as TSM for Crédit Mutuel-CIC. The story should have stated Gemalto is serving as TSM for Crédit Mutuel and Oberthur for BNP Paribas. See project page.)   

Article comments

 
Yves May 25 2010

Dan, who is providing TSM services for Crédit Mutuel, Gemalto or Oberthur ?

Dan Balaban's picture
Dan Balaban May 27 2010

Yves,
Gemalto is serving as TSM for Crédit Mutuel. The story should have read that Oberthur is serving as TSM for BNP Paribas, according to sources. Thanks for the question to clear up this point.

 
VAS2010 Jun 1 2010

Nice news)
Dan, will you show us statistic later?

Please register or login to post a comment.

HEADLINE NEWS

Lax Security Blamed for Hack of 7-Eleven’s Mobile Payments Service in Japan

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Japan’s popular 7-Eleven convenience store chain reported Thursday a major hack of its QR code-based mobile-payments app, but the breach appears to be due to poorly designed security protections in the app. 

In-Depth: More Nordic Banks Support Payments on Passive Wearables with Provisioning after Sale

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Two more large Nordic banks, Nordea and Swedbank, have launched contactless payments on analog watches, using technology from Swedish provisioning company Fidesmo that enables consumers to buy the watches and provision them with tokenized Mastercard-branded cards after the sale by tapping the watches on Android NFC phones.

Insight: Apple Pay’s Expansion to 13 New European Countries Won’t Add Much Transaction Volume but Follows Familiar Strategy

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple’s expansion this week into 13 new European countries may not look so good on paper, but it follows a divide-and-conquer strategy that Apple has used effectively before.

Visa Deepens Push into Tokenization with Planned Acquisition of Rambus Payments and Ticketing Unit

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Visa plans to buy the payments and ticketing unit of U.S.-based chip company Rambus for $75 million, as the payments network seeks to expand tokenization beyond Visa cards, including to bank accounts used for real-time payments, as well as to transactions processed by domestic networks.

With Contactless Payments Ready to Take Off in U.S., Payments Trade Group Concerned ‘Fragmented POS Experience’ Could Hinder Growth

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While contactless payments in the U.S. is “expected to accelerate in the near future,” merchants and issuers must improve the “POS experience” for consumers, the U.S. Payments Forum, a payments industry trade group, said today.

Melbourne Transit Agency Touts Successful Launch of Closed-Loop Payments with Google Pay; Plans to Add Support with Apple Pay

Jun 17 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Following a successful launch of its closed-loop Mifare-based transit payments service, myki, with Google Pay, Melbourne, Australia, transit authority Public Transport Victoria has allocated AU$1 million to expand the service onto other smartphone platforms, including iOS and the iPhone, an agency spokeswoman confirmed to NFC Times.

Analysis: BBVA’s ‘Global Payment Platform' Unlikely to Make Much Impact

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The recent announcement by large Spain-based banking group BBVA of plans to enable more banks across its footprint in Latin America to roll out the NFC-enabled BBVA Wallet as part of their banking apps could run into problems, given trends for low take-up of bank-issued NFC wallets. 

In North America, Many Cities Not Ready for Open-Loop Payments

May 31 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While open-loop transit payments services, such as one being launched this week by New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, get most of the attention, most public transit agencies and operators do not plan to accept credit and debit cards directly for payment of fares anytime soon.

Visa and Chase Seize on Launch of New York City Transit Payments Service to Try to Build ‘Momentum’ for Contactless

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Unlike in most developed countries in Europe and Asia, in the U.S., only a small percentage of the population regularly uses mass transit. But New York City is an exception, with more than 4 billion transit trips per year in the metropolitan area–seven times greater than in the next largest U.S. city in terms of transit use, Chicago.

As Their Resistance Crumbles, Australia’s Big Four Banks have Found that Opposing Apple Pay Too Costly, Despite Tech Giant’s Fees

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Another one of Australia’s big four banks, National Australia Bank, has given in to pressure from customers and has agreed to support Apple Pay.

In-Depth: Ticketmaster Embraces Digital Ticketing to Cut Fraud and Improve Communication with Ticket Purchasers and Fans

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – U.S.-based sports and entertainment ticketing vendor Ticketmaster sees its new digital-ticketing technology–supporting bar codes and NFC–as a way to reduce fraud and stay in touch with both ticket purchasers and event attendees.

Japanese Payments Players Expand Support for QR Code-Based Payments

May 20 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Japan’s mobile payments market is expanding, but the talk is not about NFC payments services, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay or the pioneering FeliCa wallet services originally pushed by NTT DoCoMo and rail operator JR East.